When grass seed and the environment are mentioned in Cascadia, the issue is usually the air pollution that stems from field burning on northern Idaho and eastern Washington’s grass seed farms.

But a new experiment conducted in Corvallis, Oregon, is bound to become a classic in the literature on genetic engineering.

Genetically engineered grass proved capable of spreading its modified genes as much as 13 miles, many times further than ever before tracked. The implications are troubling, as described in this New York Times article.

A raft of issues come to mind, but the biggest point here is that we should prove the safety of things – whether synthetic chemicals or synthetic genomes – before we put them into widespread use.